It was five minutes to noon and a short line of folks had formed by the kitchen to receive their daily free lunch at the Havelock Senior Center.
On the menu was a fine square meal of beef tips, collards, rice, pineapple, corn bread and milk.
Volunteers Judith Rotchford and Maryann Houston joined kitchen coordinator Valerie Fought in serving the plates.
"It’s going wonderful," Fought said of the program, which started in April and is funded through the city and Craven County. "Everyone seems to like the food and I have good volunteers."
She just wishes there were more people eating.
"Everybody really likes it but there needs to be more people come out and join" she said.
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are the busiest, when Bingo is played. Tuesdays and Thursdays are not quite so busy.
"It all depends on the weather and how people get around and the weather and how they feel," Fought said.
All seniors 50 and older have to do to get the meal is sign up. There are no income restrictions.
"They have to come into the center and fill a registration form out and just talk to us," Fought said. "We have a lot of benefits and a lot of programs here. They do have to fill out the registration forms before they can eat and they have to sign up 24 hours in advance for the meal.
"It makes it very difficult if people come in at the very last minute. We are only allowed 20 people for the meal. We do have some extras. We give everybody food that signs up. If they do come in late and we do have food left over, we are more than willing to feed those people, but otherwise they need to come in and sign up ahead of time."
A.D. Brady, director at the Havelock Senior Center, got the program started.
"Most people appreciate it," Fought said. "There’s more and more people coming and they really appreciate us and what A.D. has done to the program.
"We’d like to see more people come because there is a lot of opportunity here."
If they do run over with extra folks or someone is late, the crew does provide other meals that can be heated and served.
"They serve good meals every day and well-balanced meals," Fought said. "They serve everything different every day."
The food is prepared by J and S Catering in Pamlico County.
"The meals here are delicious, very good," said Irene Hess, who was among the 24 people who recently sat down for a meal. "I really can’t say anything bad about them. The program is run so efficiently. A.D. and Valerie have done a wonderful job, and we appreciate all their hard work and all that they have done."
Anyone interested can call the Havelock Senior Center at 444-6423 or drop by the center, which is located on Trader Avenue.